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Burlee Vang

Burlee Vang is the author of The Dead I Know: Incantation for Rebirth (Swan Scythe Press, 2010) and coeditor of How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). His prose and poetry have also appeared in Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, and North American Review, among others. Also a filmmaker, he was awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2011 Nicholl Award. He teaches at Long Beach City College and lives in Cerritos, California.

By This Poet

1

To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse

The moon will shine for God
knows how long.
As if it still matters. As if someone

is trying to recall a dream.
Believe the brain is a cage of light
& rage. When it shuts off,

something else switches on.
There’s no better reason than now
to lock the doors, the windows.

Turn off the sprinklers
& porch light. Save the books
for fire. In darkness,

we learn to read
what moves along the horizon,
across the periphery of a gun scope—

the flicker of shadows,
the rustling of trash in the body
of cities long emptied.

Not a soul lives
in this house &
this house & this

house. Go on, stiffen
the heart, quicken
the blood. To live

in a world of flesh
& teeth, you must
learn to kill

what you love,
& love what can die.